22 Kill Challenge

The VA released a startling stat in 2013:

22 veterans are killed by suicide every day.

Let that sink in. Twenty-two EVERY DAY.

That stat launched the #22KILL movement – an effort to educate the public, and show financial, physical, mental, emotional support for our veterans battling thoughts of suicide. Part of the current awareness is a Facebook campaign nominating people to do 22 push-ups a day for 22 days.



Thanks to one of my Booz Allen Hamilton mentors, Heather Williams Walker, I’m doing 22 push-ups a day for 22 days to raise awareness of the tragic loss of combat veterans due to suicide. I am honored to be nominated and think of the struggles our heroes face on and off the battlefield with every push-up.

I started this challenge on Sunday, Sept. 25 and I’ve been capturing videos along the way.

For my first set of nominations, I’m asking my fellow fit-mommas to join the challenge. Ladies, I hope you’ll accept this challenge and add ~two minutes to your daily routines to think about our service women and men who feel they have no other options.

  1. Jessica Taylor, lifesaver who got me into 21-Day Fix
  2. Kelly Darrell, wife of a Naval Captain and former co-lead of Leash Your Fitness in San Diego
  3. Colleen Rooney White, CrossFitter and wife of a police officer
  4. Leslie Spector, CrossFitter and wife of a firefighter
  5. Stacy Alcala, CrossFitter and recently experienced the USMC Bootcamp

The rules are simple:
* Once nominated, your 22 days start the following day.
* Every day, record yourself doing 22 push-ups. Try your best to reach 22. If that means doing assisted (from your knees) push-ups or you have to stop and take a break that’s fine but try to get them all done in one video.
* Every day you must nominate a different person. Try to choose people you think will want to do this and/or have the ability to do it.
* And finally, have fun with this. This is a simple and fun way to get the word out about an important matter. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and yet, sadly, so many veterans feel suicide is the only option.

If you want to do more than push-ups, take direct action.
Click one of the links below to make a donation and to learn more about what you can do to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity.




September 11, 2001. I was living in Galway – my Junior year of college. Classes hadn’t started so I was touring Salthill, just outside of Galway, with some of my flatmates.

We stepped into Claude’s Casino, which isn’t the casino Americans are accustomed to in Vegas; it’s more penny slots and games. There was a talk radio show on the loud-speaker and the host was talking about the Twin Towers bombing. Without a visual, I assumed the talk show was referencing the 1993 incident and making comparison to the conflict in Northern Ireland, which is often a topic of discussion on Irish radio.

Just down the street was a Kitty O’Sheas. I grew up dancing the jig to Irish Rovers music in the Chicago Kitty O’Sheas, so I convinced my friends to go into this chain with me.

In we walk to a big screen of the first Tower burning. Blatantly American, all eyes were on us. And we were breathless. The rest of the afternoon is a blur, as we watched the second plane hit, the Towers crumble, and the graphic horrors in between.

I was the one to alert my mom. My dad was working on a contract in Saudi Arabia at the time so I was anxious to know he was OK. Lucky for us, he was safe, and still managed to visit me before returning stateside. I had one friend in NYC at the time; it took awhile for her to get connectivity to update everyone, but thankfully, she was also safe.

That day naturally shaped the rest of my study abroad experience.

  • There were several students studying that semester that were directly impacted and went home immediately.
  • The Uni gathered all the American students together to share safety recommendations, travel tips, counseling resources, and what we should expect the rest of our time there. Tension and uncertainty filled the room.
  • I encountered more Irish who lost friends or family than I knew in any of the areas directly impacted.
  • I spent a weekend in Wiesbaden, when our military started flying relief packages out of our bases in Germany. The noise of the planes was relentless all night long.
  • The entire country shut down for a national day of mourning. We attended a service at the Cathedral and had no idea that “shut down” meant everything was closed. We should have stocked our fridges better that weekend.
  • I didn’t hesitate to fly within Europe, but boarding my return flight to Chicago in December, I was on high alert.
  • Reading the international papers provided a much broader and deeper perspective of how America was viewed – views I would have never understood or read living stateside.

Most importantly, my national pride swelled. The reports of the heroic acts, the brave souls who continued search and rescue missions, the families that lost a loved one is such a devastating way continue to inspire me year-after-year.

Fifteen years later, sadly, we are more divided and at war with ourselves. The news cycle of daily shootings in our schools, military bases, in our homes and on our streets pull us farther apart. I hope more of us can reflect on the unity 9/11 brought our nation and find it within ourselves to set aside our differences and come together – especially in this election year.

Otherwise, the terrorists win.


Documentary about Women in CrossFit

There is a documentary about women in CrossFit in production and the production team is seeking support to carry out the project.

From the project:

PR_Email copy

PR is a feature length documentary following women in CrossFit from all different walks of life, from CrossFit Games icons and competitors, to up-and-coming athletes and coaches. We currently have three women we plan on following for the film: Christmas Abbott, Carleen Mathews, and Jennifer Monaghan.

The goal with this film is to show the beauty of the sport while also attempting to capture what drives and motivates these women. We’re trying to create a film that helps women overcome stigmas associated with body image and social expectation, while also giving a look at the future of the sport.

We’re currently running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funding for the film. We’re hoping you might help us get the word out. We’re only asking that you simply share the link on Facebook. It would only take five seconds of your time and you’d be helping change the perception of women in fitness.

Please support and share!

Introducing the Newest Team Member

Nothing beats July 4th in the Midwest

Nothing beats July 4th in the Midwest. Lake DeNeveu, 2014.

Our favorite place to celebrate Independence Day is in Wisconsin. The weather is perfect, the beer is cold, and the family and friends are in abundance. We’ve been spoiled spending many a July 4th at the lake where I grew up vacationing with family.

This year, we celebrated in the second best place ….


Smiling between contractions

Smiling between contractions

We joyfully welcomed bebe #2 in the early morning hours of July 3. A little firecracker from conception … it’s just fitting his arrival landed the celebratory weekend! Hard to believe he’s already a month old and we can’t imagine life without him. Meet Micah James:


Big sis | already so much in love

Big sis | already so much in love

Happy One Month!

Happy One Month!

Micah was late and his delivery was fairly quick, just like his big sister. My labor started in the afternoon with contractions that quickly progressed. We were admitted into the hospital at 10:30 p.m. and that epidural couldn’t come fast enough!

Special shout-out to our OBGYN team. Not only did the same doctor deliver both our babies (unheard of in our practice), but, once he was multiple days late, they also worked with us to make sure we had a holiday-weekend delivery, which is exactly what we wanted.

We love Dr. Mayer!

We love Dr. Mayer!

I did manage a CrossFit workout on Saturday, July 2 at Chuckwalla CrossFit. It was a good one with lots of jumping, running, and lifting. I think Coach John’s programming did the trick – THANKS JOHN!

And, don’t hate me for saying this, but my recovery has been simple. I’ve been up and about … doing my mom/consultant thing. And last week, I started some at-home conditioning; nothing crazy, even simple push-ups are making me sore.

We’re so thankful to the CrossFit communities of CrossFit Full Strength and Chuckwalla CrossFit in Phoenix. While I was nowhere near as dedicated or setting PRs like I did the first go-around, it felt amazing to lift some weights when I could.

Coach Luz coaching me through one of the CrossFit Open WODs at Full Strength.

Coach Luz coaching me through one of the CrossFit Open WODs at Full Strength. March, 2016.

As I’ve recently written, working out at Full Strength with Coach Luz, a two-time Olympic contender, has been inspiring and educating. I’ve been able to focus on improving the mechanics of my lifts – especially the snatch (which I was never comfortable with prior to pregnancies!) – instead of focusing on setting PRs. While setting PRs can give you a natural high, there’s also so much to be said for working through the details of complicated lifts and the feeling of success that comes with nailing it.


Coach John is the best!

Coach John Hazdovac is the best … even if his WOD didn’t get my water to break during the WOD! ha!

This girl loves to test herself.

This girl loves to test herself.

More rings!

Different Day. More rings!

The few Saturdays before our delivery, we spent at Chuckwalla as a family. Chad and I worked out and FG played in the supervised kiddo area. It was awesome to do that together. We’re so appreciative to the Hazdovac family for making it work for us!!!

So, not our typical July 4th and subsequent weeks, but full of fireworks all the same. Welcome to the team, Micah. We love you so much already!


Team Leatherman

Both babies at one month.

Both babies at one month.

Athlete Profile | Jenni Stockwell Woelke

So, this profile is super special for me to write. Within the last year, I learned one of my high school friends was also CrossFitting during her second pregnancy. Hard to believe, but I’ve known her for 20 years!! She’s been a rock star during her pregnancy and being consistent in the gym. I’m so proud of her!

Meet Jenni Stockwell Woelke.


Husband to fellow CrossFitter Steve Woelke.

Momma to Duncan (4), and the newest Woelke, the gorgeous Delaney, who entered this world June 22.

Member at CrossFit Barbell Battalion.

Tennessean. Ohio State Buckeyes fan. Nurse.

Jenni started CrossFit just after Duncan turned one and she and her husband have gone full-force, participating in competitions and making their health a priority with very busy schedules to balance. I’ve so enjoyed watching her CrossFit experience unfold, especially during her pregnancy and I love that she is willing to share her story.

Jenni’s story:

Steve & Jenni

Steve & Jenni

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? Steve and I CrossFit together, we competed right before conceived so he is very supportive of my goal to stay active all the way through. Of course he makes sure to remind me to be careful and modify movements and pace, he knows I can be stubborn.

Why I started CrossFit: To try a different style of fitness. We had been running and doing hot yoga, but wanted to do weight training without the expense of personal trainers. They started a ‘functional fitness’ with our Gold’s membership that was included and we loved it right away! That is how we came to train under Alex O’Bryan, our CFBB head coach, before he branched out and started his own affiliate.

Other exercise practices: Does keeping up with my four-year-old boy count? {YES!} I still run, but not as frequently or as much distance, and I love yoga.

Big lift!

Big lift!

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is: To attend classes three times per week, which with our schedules is a reasonable goal. After setting that initial goal, I added on to participate in The Open, scaled and modified, of course.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it? She said just listen to my body, I will know what to avoid by how I feel.

Bump buddies

Bump buddies

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? It is great to get feedback from the other members of our box and social media friends and family. I really don’t feel like what I am doing is that awesome since I feel slower and more sore than usual, but I am fulfilled to know I am making a healthy choice to be active while pregnant. When people tell me they are in awe of what I’m doing or inspired by it, I just tell them that is why I love CrossFit; everything can be scaled and modified to where you are at on that day with your body and abilities, just show up and do the work!

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? Other awesome CrossFit pregnant women like my friend Emily who is just two weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, and gave birth to her little girl Cora a few weeks ago! And the women profiled on crossfitandpregnant.com! Anyone who takes the step to make a healthier lifestyle for themselves and goes outside their comfort zone, or attempts what others say is impossible or difficult.

Tire flips

Tire flips

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: To BREATHE along with reps and to pace myself. That just being there and moving is really and honestly OK. That my body is amazing! For a few magical weeks I could jump rope again so I did. I set a small PR on my deadlift. I completed a very modified Murph on Memorial Day at 37 weeks pregnant and enjoyed every minute of sharing in that HERO WOD with the members of my box.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Recently my husband and I both changed work schedules, I now work night shift as a nurse in critical care and trying to sleep, take care of our son, and make it to the gym can be exhausting. In terms of workouts the biggest challenge is stamina, and movements just making the modifications to not be on my back, not kip or pull too much on my belly, and getting around the bump with the barbell for lifting.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? Try to be as clean in my eating as we can, but we are never 100% any particular diet in my house. Just focusing on nutritious and budget-conscious. Baby girl loves sweets and potatoes, so I indulge.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: We love Advocare products, and since I learned that I can have VO2 bars pre-workout that has really helped me from being breathless!

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant:  Even though I have gained weight in more areas than just my belly, I feel stronger and more aligned. With my first pregnancy I felt like I got swayback but this time I feel like my posture and range of motion is a little better.

Modifications you’d like to share with others: Box push-ups are still really challenging and give you full range of motion.

Lessons learned: Listen to your body, it is capable of more than you think!

If you could do it all again, you would: Still CrossFit!

Favorite quote: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

Favorite girl WOD: Grace

Three words that describe me: Determined, patient, happy

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Running around town with my son or cooking for my family

Delivery and Post Partum. Where is Jenni now?

Delivery-day WOD

Delivery-day WOD

Sweet Delaney was born June 22. Jenni did well and has been enjoying time at home with both her kiddos.

Successful delivery!

Successful delivery!

“So far I haven’t done much CrossFit, just a few body movement workouts when I can, since I am adjusting to having both kiddos and Steve is working a new schedule. I am anxious to get cleared by my doc for weightlifting next week and for Duncan to go back to school so I have time to do it! I have some goals to get working on-body weight clean and unassisted pull-ups.”



You’ll get there, Jenni! Thanks for sharing your story.

The 2016 CrossFit Games | Quick Thoughts


The CrossFit Games never fail to entertain or inspire. We spent all week and weekend glued to the AppleTV taking delight in the constantly changing leader board to see who would come out on top.

{@fikowski Instagram}

{@fikowski Instagram}

  • Loved all the rookie appearances, but was most impressed with Canadian, Brent Fikowski. He came out of nowhere!


  • The Dottirs are amazing. What incredible role models for young women worldwide – not only with their athletic prowess, but also with their positive attitudes and work ethic. Congrats to Katrin, Sara, and Annie, most especially for always smiling!
CrossFit Mayhem Freedome {games.crossfit.com}

CrossFit Mayhem Freedome {games.crossfit.com}

Lucas Parker {@toqueluc on Twitter}

Lucas Parker {@toqueluc on Twitter}

  • FG is now a super fan of Lucas Parker, just like her momma. How can you resist the beard?!
games.crossfit.com {pictured: Heber Canon, CrossFit Media}

games.crossfit.com {pictured: Heber Canon, CrossFit Media}

  • Mad props to the CrossFit Media team. Man that crew can haul booty … almost as well as the ranked athletes. The Facebook Live footage gave such a cool “behind the scenes” feel.

games.crossfit.com {deadlift ladder}

  • A return to The Ranch was epic.

Even some of the commercials inspired … especially this one:

Does #CrossFit make women look too bulky?

A video posted by CrossFit (@crossfit) on

I’m with Brooke Ence, what are we supposed to look like?!

What were your Games takeaways? Share in comments!


Athlete Profile: Lindsay Demboski

Demboski Baby Announcement

Demboski Baby Announcement

Momma to Peyton (4) with little girl Sofia on the way (due in November), and wife to John, Lindsay Demboski has been CrossFitting for three and half years. Her favorite part of CrossFit has been involving Peyton in her workouts and the positive energy that surrounds the CrossFit community. It’s something they can do together and as a family. Being pregnant hasn’t stopped her; she finds the boost of energy after a WOD helps get her through the day and fends off typical pregnancy ailments.

She is another example of why continuing your health and exercise routine during pregnancy is important.

Lindsay’s story:

16 weeks along and lifting

16 weeks along and lifting


What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? My husband, John, is a CrossFitter, too, and supports me 100%.  He is a doctor and is a strong supporter of CrossFitting while pregnant.

How did you find crossfitandpregnant.com?  I actually googled “CrossFit and pregnancy” looking for articles on the topic.

Why I started CrossFit:  I started CrossFit because I was not fulfilled with my workouts at a traditional gym and triathlon training. I did not feel like I was getting stronger and felt like I needed a new challenge in life with regards to fitness. I’m a triathlete, but replaced my triathlon training with CrossFit and my times have gotten drastically better. CrossFit also gives me the energy to keep up with my son’s t-ball league; I’m the team’s coach!

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is:  I’m trying to maintain my overall health and fitness for me and my baby. I want a smooth pregnancy and delivery; CrossFit has been the successful reason thus far.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?  My doctor encouraged me to continue to do what I was doing before and listen to my body. She has a handful of pregnant women she sees who maintained CrossFit while pregnant and had very healthy pregnancies and deliveries.  She did advise me to watch my heart rate (with a monitor) and be able to keep a conversation during workouts. I was told that along the way there would be movements I would need to scale and have done so. I found a great poster at a box I dropped into one day that gave a list of movements to stop doing based on CrossFit level and trimester/weeks that has really helped.

Great resource!

Great resource!

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support?  My husband John, my mom, and fellow CrossFitters at my box.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned:  To listen to my body while not listening to the naysayers, who think I should stop.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: The naysayers, which include CrossFitters. They tell me I should not be lifting heavy or working out as hard while pregnant. I can listen to my body and with my doctor’s support, I have learned everyone will have an opinion, but I have to follow my instincts and what is best for me and my baby. In terms of working out, the biggest challenge is keeping my heart rate in check. It goes up quickly and because I am competitive, I have to force myself to look at my monitor and stop when I get out of breath. Before being pregnant, I would push through the pain and exhaustion so it has been challenging to make myself slow down.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?  Our family is about 75% paleo. We definitely have our cheat meals, but try to make healthy choices majority of the time. We just love our pizza nights and ice cream. {And don’t we all!}

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered:  I actually have more energy following WODs. On days I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I would workout and feel like I had a boost of energy when I needed it most. I am also strategically using this time to work on skills like perfecting my strict muscle ups and pistols.


What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: The health benefits during pregnancy. I have energy, haven’t been sick, feel very strong, and have gained a healthy amount of weight.

Modifications you’d like to share with others:  Box jumps are the one thing that has bothered me early on, so I don’t do them. I substitute with step-ups instead. As my pregnancy progressed, I have eliminated various movements based on how far along I am (double unders, sit ups, HSPU, etc.). Otherwise, I have been able to do almost all workouts RX my first trimester and majority of my second.

Step ups in place of box jumps

Step ups in place of box jumps

Favorite quote: “One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn’t do what it just did.”

Favorite girl WOD: Grace (love me some clean and jerks!)

Three words that describe me: competitive, dedicated, social butterfly

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Spending time with my husband and son. We love to do anything outdoors together. And I spend a lot of time taking and watching my son’s various sporting activities (tennis, swimming, karate, baseball).


Thanks for sharing your story, Lindsay!